So as I walk around NY, I often see homeless people and if I have $ to give them, I usually do. Not always, but usually. (Unless I'm berating them for crusifying lesbians on the 7 train... right Gregor?)
I often walk through the underpass by Bryant Park that goes from 6th to 5th Avenue and, when doing so, have often seen a really young kid (probably no more than 21) sitting looking really sad with a sign that says "Hungry."
Now I usually give him a few bucks. I have an especially soft spot for young people and old people. Really any people on the street. In my mind they're not doind this by choice. In my mind they appreciate every little dollar. In my mind they aren't hooked on drugs and if they are, it's not their fault. And if I can do something to help, then I'll try.
So does this make me a big old dum dum? And if it does, does it matter??
So this kid...his name is David. I saw him again this morning on my way to get a $3 cup of Starbucks. The last time I saw him I didn't have any $ to give him but in my head I said, "the next time I see him I'm going to buy him some food and see what his deal is." So I did. I got him a piece of banana bread from starbucks and I stopped and gave it to him and said, "hey." He kinda looked up and was shocked that someone was talking. He said hi back. I said, "so what's going on? Do you need something more than food right now? I mean, I know you do, but something immediate? That I can help you with?" He said he was looking for a job. Now listen I KNOW, that's what I would say too. I put myself in his shoes and I said, "what would I say if some naive looking blonde came over to me and offered to help." I think I'd say I was looking for a job. He said he had an interview at starbucks last week. Well, that's good. I said, "do you have somewhere to live?" and he said he sleeps in front of the Times Square Church.
I should also mention that as walking down to the 7 train the other week I saw him. A bunch of Police Officers in training, around 5 of them, where walking a few feet in front of me. They saw him and his "hungry" sign and started cracking jokes, "THEN EAT MAN! HUR HUR HUR!!" "Yeah, go get some food!" Wow, hilarious. Future NY's finest cops. I'm proud.
Guys, this kills me. Especially after seeing Oprah (see, I really am a big old dumb softie) where she covered the homeless situation in America and said a HUGE percentage of us are about 2 paychecks away from living far below the poverty level or actually becoming homeless. And once something bad happens you really only have one chance. Think about it. You are living paycheck to paycheck and you lose your job and all the sudden you have bills to pay that are already overdue and mouths the feed and before you know it you're out on your ass because you have no family to fall back on.
No this would not happen to me because I know I have family that would take me in.
But what if I didn't?
Can you imagine?
So anyway, I'm writing this because I want to get feedback. What should I do for this kid? What CAN I do for this kid? And if you have a soft spot like me, he sleeps in front of the Times Square Church so if you eat in that area and have leftovers I'm sure he or someone over there wants them.
Also, this isn't so relevant now that the weather is warming up... but in the winter if you see someone on the street and it's way too cold for them to be out there you can call the Bowery Residence and they will pick them up and take them to where it's warm. 212-533-5151 (thanks Terry)